Is Bob Lutz OK?

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Sometime you wonder about these guys…

He said 2 things last week that made me wonder.
First he announced that the small Opel Corsa was going to make it to the US.
Good news, the new 2007 Corsa looks great. We might get it via Mexico or Brazil but who cares, really.
But in the same speech he said we would get the “next” generation.
The one that comes out in 5 years!
So it’s OK for Saturn to sell the 3 or 4 years old Astra, but we have to wait 5 years for the Corsa when a new one just came out???

He also mentioned that the US government should tax gas to a point where it becomes as expensive as in Europe.
As an incentive to make us consider more fuel efficient cars.
Actually not such a crazy idea. Something Lee Iacocca also talked about in the 80’s.

But hey. Who’s making the cars here?
Can’t GM try to come up with fuel efficient cars we want to buy NOW???

Amazing how these guys always blame others. Not they blame us!

In related news: The talks between GM and Renault/Nissan are officially dead.
Seems that GM was asking for too many billions.
So now Renault/Nissan is said to be talking to Ford.
I really don’t get it.. Why would these guys want to have anything to do with Ford???

Conversation 31 comments

  1. Yea, Gm’s the last car company on earth that shoul dbe calling for a higher gas tax. They still haven’t really got a fullfledged hybrid offering. How could they compete?

  2. Interesting and very biased comment. GM/Ford are both in lousy shape. Note Ford sales on the rise last month, GM down. They want to get involve now because both companies cheap from historic standpoint, and they obviously feel they have bottomed.

  3. I agree Vince. GM’s suits think that the whole world will keep spinning to them.

    Someone should get new management,pronto.

  4. Vince,you did not get the point. Lutz wanted to tell the American consumers he hates Escalades, Suburbans, the DTS and all the biggies and instead wants small cars.He is dreaming of the bright future of SMART-like vehicles. So it makes sense to ask for higher gas prices. I think he spent too many years of his life in Europe and this mixed him up. And he may be too arrogant to realize how Europeans suffer under too highly taxed fuel. Give HIM a small income and he will change his mind.

  5. The reason the Corsa needs to wait 5 yeas while we get the Astra sooner is solely based on crash standards and federal certifications. The Corsa platform wasn’t meant for US the market and won’t pass our standards. To re-engineer an existig platform and get it ready for US consumption would be too expensive and take too long — so GM thinks waiting would be better. I’m not saying their right — but from a business perspective it makes sense. As for the Astra, it apparently needs very little by way of changes sine the current GM Delta platform is loosely based on the platform the Astra is currently based on (it’s not exactly Delta, but close enough as some sources have cited).

  6. (K)Lutz!
    What a joke! Sure, he has given people the Solistice/Sky, whatever… and the Astra(?) Midsized sedan(that is not a good looking car. Who is this aimed at, 65 year old, nearly blind people?).
    Seriously! I saw one in person, and the front end is not something I would enjoy looking at for 4-6 years!
    And the MSRP is not as good as Fusion, G6, Optima, Sonata, or even the Verona.
    GM can’t just tweak the Opels to meet our crash test standards, and leav the designs alone, Nooooooooo, they gotta mess em up, make them un-appealing to most(import) buyers!
    I thought Saturn was the “youth brand” set out to conquer imports!?
    Now they are ” family/old age” division?

    They need YOUTH guiding GM, not 70-80 year olds.
    Even Kia has better designed Cars, and better looking, and higher MPG!

    Yes, 5 years to wait for a fuel effecient car is insane(maybe they are hoping this ” new fad for high mpg cars” will fade, and then they can get back to ripping people off 15,000 dollars profit-per-suv scam they have ran for 14 of the last 15 years).

    Ford/Renault/Nissan: well, Chrysler/Hyundai/Mitsubishi have the GEMA plants worldwide to build 4 cylinders…and Chrysler said this co-operation between the 3 companies woudl save Chrysler over 1 billion vs making engine in Mexico(making some in Dundee, MI).
    They share the cost( can now build a small engine with Toyota-like quality parts, yet, not quite as expensive for them to build, or consumers to purchase; cost-sharing).
    Maybe Ford, etc, are thinking along the same lines?

    I’ll wait for Suzuki to finish building their own engineered(not GM-DAT) cars in 1-2 years…and just buy one of them!
    (ps, did anyone notice, that when Suzuki basically broke free of GM’s grip, when GM sold 17%+ of their 20% stake in Suzuki, Suzuki started making better vehicles, AND their sales have been climbing ever since, every month, since 2005?).
    PS: for the one or two guys that ALWAYS (UAW-like comments) post ehre: the GEMA engines inMichigan(2 plants) are built by UAW!

  7. Ford does have a small B-Segement car coming out as or by 2008( Vince, I think you have photos up, or was that thecarconnection?)
    GM? By 2011!?

    Idiots! Pure and Simple!

    I bet if small cars racked up 5,000 to 10,000 dollars profit-per-vehicle ,GM would have 20 versions out by next month!

    In the late 80’s. GM sold the Storm, Spectrum, Cavalier, Tracker,
    Nova, 4 smaller cars, and one small suv.
    What do they have now?
    Cobalt and HHR, and Aveo.
    No more small suv, and no small Chevy(rebadged Toyota) Nova-like car(they did have the Prism, too, a Toyota, and dropped that, a few years ago).
    GM sold a 3 door hatchback(the Storm, test drove one in was fast, for it’s time. 120HP).
    Guy at work had one, and it was ok, but had to go back a lot(GM rebadged the Isuzu Impulse, I believe it was called)for minor issues.
    Wish GM had the guts to bring out a cool 3 door hatch(that looked cool, not like every other wagon out there).

    GM( Generates Money, by suv sales only) is most likely never gonna see me on their lots.
    Chrysler has a better chance of that, maybe even Ford!

    GM is the anti-thesis
    of Toyota. Greed is their motto.
    Where’s GM’s Prius fighter, for 21-28K?
    Not enough $$$ to be made on it, so GM drags their feet, hoping this new mind-set of “we want higher MPG cars” goes away, and they can go back to 22 seater suv’s, at 40,000 dollars a pop!

    GM designs good cars, if you’re into cars for 80 year olds!

  8. Personally I think that US gas prices are stupidly low! Something needs to be done to lessen the effects of global warming before it’s too late. Higher gas prices will make people think about not taking stupidly short journeys in the car or buying a more economical car.

  9. That’s been GM’s problem for years: Everything that makes sense will be offered in 5 years.

    The problem is that during that 5 years, Honda, Toyota, and others offer better vehicles that outclass whatever GM introduces 5 years too late.

    Yes, new management is in order at GM and it looks like Kerkorian’s desire to replace Wagoner with Ghosn is a dead issue now.

  10. Bob has some balls to suggest raising gas prices to European levels as Gm doesn’t really have much of a fuel effecient lineup to support the shift away from high displacement motors. I’m torn on the idea, while I’d love to see a more fuel conscious average driver, it would make shipping and trucking costs exhorbitant, although I’d love to see the trucking and bus industry reduce emissions levels by a similar percentage as required of passenger vehicles.

  11. Of course he is ok. Bob Lutz is thinking about lobbying for his “yellow plans” and GM’s European diesel line-ups to kill off Toyota’s overly complex Hybrid system, for either morale or financial victory. He knows too well that GM’s small cars are not yet profitable for N. American market; and the focus of Crossover and RWD platforms probably took all investment funds already. Nissan is thinking smartly too; it is trying to share V8 and fullsize line-ups R&D costs. In the near future, an alliance can also enable nissan to increase production capacity with minimum investment. I guess you can’t expect those two CEOs to be stupid.

  12. I wouldn’t say he’s crazy, for sure not.

    Raising gas prices to european level might change the attitude of people – i know, everyone is talking about hybrids – but compare sales of say Prius to Ford Explorer etc. That’s the answer the maket gives, and GM, Ford & co. are producing what the market wants (well, more or less, no debates about certain models please). On the other hand , you won’t find any SUV- Cross over – V6/v8 only car in any european Top 20 sales charts, as ther is not such a market for those cars here, due to fuel prices.

    Of course GM could produce just Corsa/Astra CDTi Turbodiesels that sell in europe, but would anyone buy it right now? Mostly not as long as gas is cheap…

    And about the Corsa – i guess it is because that you most certainly would get Mexican/Brazilian Corsas, but they don’t seem to get this generation as it was codeveloped with Fiat (GrandePunto there, also not sold in Sout America – they have the Palio there). Probably they’ll miss out one generation, just like with current Astra. And importing a sub 4m car from Europe, where it starts at above 11000 Euros might not work.

  13. “GM is the anti-thesis of Toyota. Greed is their motto…” and they’re different How? ___
    “Bob has some balls to suggest raising gas prices to European levels…” Was this the interview in which hespoke French? Maybe he didn’t expect us to get a translation.

  14. Anonymous said…
    “GM is the anti-thesis of Toyota. Greed is their motto…” and they’re different How? ___

    5:08 PM

    How? Simple. The head(CEO) Of Toyota , I read, gets paid soemthing around 350,000 dollars annually(give or take). Lutz?
    How much does he make? Millions? For what?
    He’s an idiot.
    Toyota CEO should get Millions(Toyota is making money, for sure, but the invest most of their profits, or more thanmost companies, back into their future products. GM just keeps building SUV’s, hoping for 10,000 dollars per vehicle profit. How much ya think Toyota makes on Prius? 10,000 dollars?LOL.GO AWAY UAW!).

  15. Bob “Nutz”.
    Where’s GM’s Hybrid CAR? I don;t see one, do you all?
    Toyota has a few, Honda does too.
    Nissan is finally getting into the act, to a degree.

    I’d rather drive a Sebring than a Cobalt!

  16. i’m a gm guy, but bottom line, lutz is a douche and a moron. scince when is a cobalt compared to a sebering? their in seperate classes.

  17. Lutz supports Europinhead gas tax ??? This coming from a multi-millionaire who flys his own helicopter to work. While we all struggle to pay $8.00 / gallon in our little-people tin can person movers that wont exist for 5 years….. Freaking elitist Socialist pig-dog exploiter or Stalinist “useful idiot”. Maybe Lutz should just stick to producing cars that us little-people want to buy instead of opening his elitist mouth….. Hahhhhh.

  18. Ignorance is bliss on this blog apparently. People shooting off their mouths about how GM and Lutz are total idiots that want to take over world with their evil cars and kill every single man, woman, and child!!! EVIL!!!

    Get over yourselves. The Corsa doesn’t meet NA crash standards, the Astra is a compact car aimed at the Golf/ Mazda 3 (contrary to one poster who said it was mid-size)
    GM does have a hybrid- the Saturn Green-line and will offer full-mode hybrids on the GMT 900 SUVs, Saturn Aura, Chevy Malibu, etc. by next year and 2008. A duel-mode hybrid system that both BMW and DCX are sharing as well.

    Even without the Corsa now, they already have the top-selling B-car in America – the Chevy Aveo. Or did we all forget? And don’t argue that it doesn’t count since it’s made by Daewoo. Note: Daewoo is owned by GM and the new Aveo had extensive help from GM and an increase in fuel economy to make it more competitive.

    Some people already forgot the work GM is doing on hydrogen fuel-cells. It’s one of the leading auto companies in the field. Meanwhile, Toyota, Honda, and Nissan are devoting millions to hybrids. Hybrids that don’t get the mileage they promise and still rely heavily on gasolene.

    GM is greedy? What company isn’t. They need money to survive. Including Toyota. In fact, Toyota’s number 1 priority is to be number 1 in sales. No because they want to help the environment. That’s a big PR stunt in order to make people think that Toyota is a green-company. Look at the HUGE gas guzzling SUVs and trucks they’re coming out with. Sounds pretty green to me.. doesn’t it?
    Stop drinking the Toyota coolaid. It’s sad to hear such brainwashed sheep think they know what they’re talking about..

  19. I actually didn’t mean to bash Mr.Lutz.
    He’s not the only one who wants to raise taxes on gas.
    I just don’t think he should even mention the US Corsa if it is 5 years away..

    He is the best thing that happened to GM in decades.
    At least he likes cars and does want good cars out there.
    So they’re not perfect yet, but we should see what we get from GM in the next 2-3 years.
    I think they might come up with great stuff.
    He’s still not responsible for most of GM’s current cars.

    Ford on the other hand, doesn’t have anyone like Lutz.

  20. Vince, what month(again) did you posty those photos/review of that Cobalt that was messed up(poor workmanship)?
    Maybe you should post it up again for the GM fans here?( the trunk looked {popped” open, when closed, for one thing. Shows lack of attention to detail by workers?).
    You praised the (smaller, less costly, 1 class down )Accent for having a better interior(better everything, really, etc..) than the more costly, next level, compact Cobalt!
    Look at the photos, then mention “koolaid”,LOL(to GM buyers, that is, LOL).

  21. Problem is he produces UGLY things to bring to USA. What version of the upcomning Vue woudl you rather have( do not be “practical” here):
    1 3 door, green , Antara, that made scion look like puke, or the Santa Fe uglyfied clone, that looks boring?

    And if the rationale is ” we need 5 doors” , fine: Mkae the 2 “hidden”(suicide) doors on it, raise the rear end roofline a inch or two(like Scion tC 3 door has, for rear passenger comfort, and enough room for 4, 5 in a pinch,w/o getting leg cramps, and head hitting the roof liner,etc) and then ya have a decent car,and it looks modern(not so boring ya fall asleep looking at it).

    They take GREAT designs, and ugly them up( golook at some commentary on, from June, when they showed the Brown santa fe VUe, People went nuts, hating it!Most of them wanted the 3 door. 75% wanted it).
    That’s my gripe.
    Just put a new grille on it(like they did the Toyota’s, Isuzu’s, Suzuki’s in the day) and be done with it(after they work on crash tests, etc).
    Saem design as the other 3 makers cars, but GM stuff on the label. They did not rework the looks(much).
    Now, Opel? they destroy the beauty and give us ho-hum? Why? They planning on using Saturn to replace Buick?

  22. I’m sorry but I forgot when that was…
    I know it’s in the archives somewhere.

    And I still think the Accent was a better car. By better car I mean it drove better, was smoother and quiter, as roomy, better MPG and it had a much higher quality feel to it.
    I actually like the Chevy Aveo better than the Cobalt. That too is quiter and smoother.
    But these horrble European crash test results are scarry for a small car. (Aveo)

    I’m sure GM is working on something better to replace the Cobalt.

    Even Ford is getting a pretty heavily revised US Focus next year. Most of the body seems new and they’ve added a new coupe model.

  23. Vince, that Ford “Coupe”, is that the 2 door, or 3 door( I know, our tC was called a “coupe” or sports coupe.but it’s 3 doors)?

    I saw the spy photos ,etc. I kept thinking 2008(or is is CY or MY 08? Sounds like MY 08 model, as you say?).

    I may give it a look, if for nothing else, curiosity. The current Focus is decent enough in handling, etc.. just the interior seems a bit “cheap”(even compared to the just now released 07 Elantra).

    I’ll give em a chance. Who knows? You might get to test drive the Avenger in a few months and like it, too?
    I am waiting to dirve that 07 Elantra, though… it’s out right now hitting dealerships(want the loaded up model).
    see ya.
    have a good one, Vince.

  24. The Coupe will be a two door model.
    From the spy pics it actually looks pretty nice. It will have a new interior but use the same platform.
    With the good 2.3 L engine from Mazda, this could be a pretty good car.

  25. Just to all thinking Corsa wouldn`t meet Us Crash standards – the Aveo got a horrible 1,5 stars rating in EuroNCAP crash test (harder, because offset) whilst new Corsa got a high 5 stars rating (nearly maximum points available). Better than eg. Rabbit or Mercedes C-Class and many other Euro cars sold in the US.

    As i mentioned before, as Corsa is not made in M;exico or Barsil, importing such a small car from Germany would mean a mssive loss to GM. ANd finally they also just wan’t to earn money….

  26. Cobalt wasn’t engineered completely under Bob’s watch. He might’ve made a few tweeks here or there but it was well into production by the time he came aboard. The vehicles influenced heavily or controlled by him: Solstice, Sky, HHR, GMT-900s, upcoming CTS, Aura, new Malibu, the entire Zeta program, etc. A lot of GM’s vehicles currently are pre-lutz. You can see a huge difference between the old and the new. Do some research buddy. I know GM makes a lot of S&%@ vehicles but I also know that people here give that company and any american auto company a hard time because they think it’s so cool to go along with the crowd. Why don’t you go test some new GM cars yourself before making a decision on whether or not they’re crappy or not. If not, your just like every other basher who has nothing to back their “opinions” up.

  27. I test drove the Cobalt, and like Vince Burlapp said(compared to Accent)…. it’s louder, does not handle as well, and looks cheaper materials. In fact, since last year or so, I have test driven the following:
    HHR,PT Cruiser,Rio,Reno, xA, Civic,
    Cobalt, Malibu, 500, Fusion, Optima,Sonata, Eclipse, and SX4, Rabbit, Prius.

    SO, yeah, for me, I KNOW what I like, so when I post, I post from personal Knowledge of the cars, not just make- up stuff.

    I plan on testing the new Elantra and Avenger, and when the new Corolla comes out, that,too.

    My issue with Cobalt is it is louder than all 4 cylinders I have tested, the interior is ok, but nothing to write home about,BUT the biggest issue is head room.
    My father in law used to be able to sit in his wife’s 1990 Cavalier, but when we all went to the new Cobalt…. he had NO headroom in th epassenger(front) seat to speak of, and when Idrove, GM has some odd steering wheel that has hardly any down travel to speak of!
    It was like I had to REACH UPWARDS to grasp the steering wheel to drive. I did try the seat-height adjuster, but when I got to the comfortable position( for me, holding the top of the wheel at chest level, is comfortable, not holding them at shoulder height)my head hit the roof liner.
    The HHR was nice enough, but same thing about driving position,steering wheel combo, that was sooo far off from the 1990 Cavalier, and less room(sorry…it’s true).
    Same for Malibu. Enough room,but what gives with this bizzarre thing GM has with steering wheels? Can’t they let the driver decide where they want the wheel, whether down to their knees, or up past their ears? Someone said it was due to airbags,so the keep the positioning high, for safety reasons( well, good thing all comapnies aren’t like this. If I wanna” drive dangerously”, to myself, with air bag lower/steering wheel…that should be my problem, not some car company’s).

    If I wanna feel like I am drivng a 1950’s truck(which I did in th e70’s, learning to drive)… then’ll I’ll go out and buy an old 1950’s truck.

    Now, others may like this weird driving positioning of the dash.steering wheel/cloumn, but I DON’T.
    There, hope that explains it in detail.
    I could care less who drives what, to be honest. I live in a backwoods area of Ohio, and they all drive GM, except us, which we drice Sonata(which I like, but want a smaller vehicle next time, and not particularly a Hyundai) and a Scion tC.
    This irks the neighbors, as they all tend to worry about what you drive!
    I told them ya don’t like it? Tell ya what, you go out, and BUY ME a car, free of charge, and I’ll drive whatever ya tell me ta drive!
    That’s me.

    I may just wait, see what this rumored 94 MPG Prius is like(be out in 08,something)who knows?

    If I were rich, I’d have a Prius, maybe an SX4 for bad weather,
    and maybe an Avenger(the V6,2 35HP version, which sounds thisclose to Hyundai Sonata’s engine… look up Mitsubihsi GEMA V6 engines, and they mention that a V6 ,built by GEMA, same company making the I-4’s for Mitsu/Chrysler/Hyundai, but give few details.).

  28. an addendum to my last post/rant on GM(and other makers)…the one where I mention I have tested like 9 cars in a year…..

    Cars I did not like, or probably would not buy(from the list of cars I tested ):
    xA(tooooo slow,and “tiny feeling”).
    500 is cool, but in a parking lot, don’t try to turn it around in one smooth turn.
    Eclipse: Nice design, but 4 cylinder was loud, and sort of slow, and like the 500: try turjing it around, Smoothly, in a tightly confined parking area,lol… 40.1 Ft turning radius(!?!) C’Mon!
    (think it was 40.1, or pretty close).

    So, there ya have it… I was no t just picking on GM alone.

    Lot of cars that are good, but either have the turning radius of the world’s largest ocean going vessel,too slow, or too tiny(in headroom, or leg room, whatever).
    Also, if ya can'[t get comfortable behind the wheel, why bother?

    Even some of the stuff I liked, liek PT Cruiser, for instance, 26MPG EPA with automatic? Seats that were not good(cloth. Leather are ok, but Chrysler seems to charge thousands more for leather. Why? They said they pay by the square inch, a salesman said, that was why it was so costly for leather seating, but Kia and Hyundai…. try 1000-1,300, not 3,300. They may make cloth seats not so comfortable to get the people with cash to buy the more costly-or rip-off priced by Chrysleer- leather seats?).
    How’s that for a Real, Honest, Test-Drove the thing, Opinion?!
    take care/not offense.

  29. Mick is right about GM(too) is all about $$$( ALL makers are,it is no like they are building cars for charity).I read on about GM Corsa today(6th)…. and basically Lutz said they will bring it here “If they decide that GM needs anoher small, fuel efficient car, other than the AVEO in their line-up(not exact quote, but close enough to give you the impression if they can NOT bring the Corsa here, they will bemore than happy not to bring another small-profit-car here,unless they think they need anothger option other than AVEO….Guys… which would you rather drive? Aveo or Corsa?). good news, I guess, for GM,but it will take what, 7-8 more years to put things into plan?OK, by then, Prius will get 120 MPG, and be 20,000 dollars, and not need a new battery until 250,000 miles, and the battery will be 1,500 dollars.;-)Hyundai and Kia will have a hybrid before then, and be less costly(I bet) than any of ’em.

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